Album review
Tribesman Assault
Roots Underground
23 - 06 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. High Times
  2. Makka Root
  3. Tribal Rock
  4. Dread Feeling
  5. Wrong Cord
  6. Shotgun Skank
  7. Disco Reggae Rocker
  8. Black Brigade
  9. Tribesman Assault
  10. Open The Gates - K.C. White & The Love Joys
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : - Backing : 4 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 4

And yet another release in the string of classic Wackies albums that have been (re)released by Berlin dub-techno duo Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus a.k.a. Rhythm & Sound, as part of their rerelease program of the complete Wackie's catalog. More on their own releases, whether technodub on Basic Channel or their Rhythm & Sound label and also on their classic Wackie's (re)releases can be found at the Basic Channel website. "Tribesman Assault" is one of the first albums originally issued by Wackies, collecting dubs Lloyd 'Bullwackie' Barnes did of recordings made in Jamaica, and in New York City before his own Bronx' studio in 1977 had been set up, where the tracks were finally overdubbed and mixed. Opening this set is "High Times", with its groovy drumming and drumbreaks, before the piano chords of "Makka Root" draw you into one of several tracks on this album featuring excellent rocksteady style guitarpicking, being more of an instrumental reggae track than a strictly dubwise workout, with a faint hint of the original female vocals hidden in the background. More dubbed up is the background for the guitar that once again is at the forefront in "Tribal Rock", and the straight drum, bass and keyboard accents dub with a few guitar snippets of "Dread Feeling". The track "Wrong Cord" has in it keyboard accents just what the title promises over a wicked classic bassline. "Shotgun Skank" is again centered around a steady bassline, with the most freaky accents of the tunes on this album over it, and a penetrating hi-hat. "Disco Reggae Rockers" is one of my alltime favourite riddims 'Ballistic Affair' getting the Wackies dub treatment in an alienating workout. "Black Brigade" through the melody on top is probably best described as what you'd hear if ever one of the Shadows' records would have received a dub treatment. "Tribesman Assault" is the last track on this album that is credited to the Wackies ensemble that is operating here under the moniker Roots Underground, but has several of its members appearing over the years that followed in other disguises as Barnes' core riddim contributors. The track keeps my mind wandering to Peter Tosh' "Equal Rights" in mood and gloominess. The last tune is sung by K.C. White & The Love Joys, with their great take on "Open The Gates". This album proves that the Wackies catalog contains a trailorload of gems that certainly deserve the current rereleasing and following that: critical appraisal.